A Love for the Ages

3 couples share the secrets to their long and happy marriages.


Love is all around us this month. Sentimental cards and conversation hearts abound, Facebook is screaming at you to send your friends Valentine wishes, and the debate over cupcakes at school Valentine’s Day parties is in full swing.

The real meaning of love is defined differently by everyone. We asked these wonderful North Shore couples the secrets of success to their timeless marriages. You’ll be surprised at what some of them said—you may even take some of their advice. Talking with them has given me a renewed way of looking at my own marriage…

Donna and Dick Kissel ~ Lake Forest ~ Married 49 years this February

“I don’t know if there’s any secret—for me, a good marriage is about acceptance,” says Dick Kissel, when asked if there is a secret to staying married for nearly 50 years.

How did you meet?
He said: I was a second year law student at Northwestern, and the board of governors held a Christmas party every year. I called my mother after that night and told her I found the girl I would marry.

She said: I was at Nursing School in Oak Park when a friend and I were invited to a Northwestern party from another male friend that lived nearby. Neither of us were interested in him, so we promised not to leave each other alone with him. After I met Dick, I broke my promise! The timing was so right.

What are some of your sweetest moments:
Both said: By far, the birth of all three of our children. There have been many moments through the years, but the kids entering our lives are our sweetest moments.

What advice would you give to young married couples?
He said: Look beyond physical attraction and be sure there’s something else there.

She said: You can’t change who someone is. If they are one way before marriage, they’ll continue after!

What is your secret to a long, happy marriage?
He said: We are both committed to our marriage and to our family. Some times are better than others. And, after enduring the trying times, you come out stronger on the other end. If we are never tested, we don’t grow.

She said: We want to stay together, we are accepting of each other and we are tolerant of one another. We also are practicing Roman Catholics and believe that we are in this for the long haul!

Both said: We are both physically fit and without a conscious effort, this has become an attractive quality in one another. It helps our relationship and helps us as individuals because we’re taking care of ourselves.

Donna and Jack Ingold ~ Lake Bluff ~  Married 50 years in October 2010

“It’s a pretty simple, old-fashioned love story,” says Donna Ingold sitting next to her husband Jack of nearly 50 years.

How did you meet?
He said: We met in college. She was pinned to someone else, as was I, but we were both more interested in each other.

She said: Our fist date was with good friends and we all went bowling. I clearly remember Jack rolling a 200!

What are some of your sweetest moments:

He said : They’ve all been sweet (awww!)

Both said: Yes they have, but the sweetest moments are the birth of our two children, the birth of our grandchildren and all of our many travels.

What is your secret to a long, happy marriage?

He said: We care for each other, a LOT. We give and we take and we realize life isn’t perfect every day.

She said: We put each other first. He puts me first, I put him first. And, we enjoy doing things together.

Both said: “We each have other interests, too.” Jack enjoys photography and is the chairman of the Chicago district golf association and Donna is an Appraiser. “We both focus on our health and exercise, we meet together with a trainer and watch what we eat.” Although Donna says Jack has quite the penchant for Jelly Beans and Oreos!

What advice would you give to young married couples?

He said: You have to give people their own space, respect their wants, needs and desires and above all compromise. Marriage is a give and take.

She said: I agree with that, but above all Trust is the key.

Rene and Pasquale Caputo
~ Lake Bluff ~ Married 40 years this July 4, 2010

“We’ve had a great life,” says Rene of her marriage to Pasquale. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

How did you meet?
He said: At a saloon. (he smiles, knowing what’s coming next.)

She said: It was a lounge! It was a lovely place to eat, drink and hear live music. I told him I wouldn’t go out with him unless he shaved his beard. So, when I was getting ready for the date, my mother told me “if he shaves, this guy means business.” And sure enough, I open the door, and there he stood, clean shaven, adorable.  We were engaged a month after that!

What are some of your sweetest moments:
He said: Right now. “Can I put my arm around you?” he asks Rene. (they both chuckle)

She said: I just love those dimples when he smiles his little impish grin.

Both said: When we had our two children were the best moments; and being with our family.

What advice would you give to young married couples?

He said: Everyone has their faults and you need to know when to give in and compromise. It’s all about acceptance. If you’re not willing to take it on, don’t get married.

She said: Compromise and honesty are key. You have to accept one another and give 50/50 to your relationship.

What is your secret to a long, happy marriage?

He said: We accept each other. She talks in her sleep, I snore. Compromise and acceptance is what it takes.

She said: We’ve lived and worked together our entire married life. So, for us, it was having the same goals, same energy and the same work ethic. We continued working to secure our family.